Snip snip: Jumpcut vs ClipMenu

Have you ever wanted to go back into your clipboard history and pick out what you’ve copied and pasted beforehand, without having to re-copy and paste all over again? If so, there are two excellent programs for you to try out: Jumpcut and ClipMenu. These programs allow you to see your clipboard history with no trouble. They do, however, have their differences.

Jumpcut is ideal for older machines. Its main purpose is to show clipboard history. Almost anything that is copied appears within Jumpcut’s interface, though there are a few exceptions such as copied images. Preference options are meager but workable, really only allowing changes to hotkeys and icon opacity. Jumpcut remembers between 10 and 99 clips, and can display the same range.

ClipMenu, on the other hand, is a more modern piece of software that gives you added extensibility. You can preview copied images, adjust the amount of folders, manage snippets, and create automated tasks. You can also save and export your clipboard history into a single file or multiple files. Other useful options include adjusting the preview time interval and excluding applications.

Both programs have a “clear all” function, along with a small but varied list of menu bar icons to choose from. Both also have not seen a major release in quite some time; nevertheless, they continue to work without fail. They are also Universal binaries, and can be used on Intel and PowerPC Macs.

When it comes down to it, both Jumpcut and ClipMenu do their intended jobs and do it marvelously. It all depends on what you personally prefer. If a simple clipboard manager is your thing, or if you are on older hardware, give Jumpcut a try. For those who wish to have more control, ClipMenu is definitely for you.

Jumpcut can be found here, while ClipMenu can be found here.

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Cog: A No-Frills Music Player

If you’re tired of the bloat and headaches that come with iTunes, or if you are not married to a specific iDevice, there are plenty of choices to fall back on. One such choice is a small yet capable music player named Cog.

When I bought an iBook G4 from a friend a few years back, I knew that I couldn’t dump everything I owned onto the outdated laptop. And with my large collection of music, I also knew that it would take ages to get my library loaded. After some searching, I discovered Cog, It took no time to install, and even less to import my music folders. Within minutes I was listening to my favorite tracks with no issue.

What I like about Cog most is its stripped down, no-frills interface. There’s no radio or extraneous add-ons that weigh the player down; it’s just you and the music. There are the basic options: repeat, shuffle, play/pause, back/next, volume, search, and seek. You can also click the “info inspector” to see the metadata on a particular track. Cog can be controlled through the main interface or by right-clicking on the dock icon.

Included in the few features Cog boasts, Last.fm is supported in the 0.08 beta. However, the client must be installed on your computer in order for it to work, although you can choose to have Cog automatically open the application. Growl and native system notifications are supported as well.

As for cons, there are few that aren’t necessarily deal breakers but are worth noting. Hotkeys can be configured, but it is a bit cumbersome. As this Mac has no built-in media controls, I can’t speak on whether they work or not. There is also some, albeit minimal lag between songs at times. Taking into consideration that this particular version is a beta, it can be excused. To reiterate, syncing with iDevices is not supported.

Overall, Cog is a dependable player for those who love music but hate the bloat. It’s supported on both PPC and Intel, so even those with the slowest hardware can enjoy.

Cog version 0.07 and below can be found on the main site, available here.
Cog 0.08 Beta (OS X 10.6+) is available on MacUpdate.

Meteo: Weather for Your Menu

Meteo (short for ‘Meteorologist’) is a small but impressive weather application for OS X that sits primly in your menu bar.  As a person who finds it far easier to take a quick glance up than tune into a weather station, Meteo provides detailed information ranging from: temperature (both in Celsius and Fahrenheit), wind strength and direction, barometer, even weather alerts for your area like flash flooding. Multiple locations are supported, as well, along with a detailed satellite map of said areas.

There are few cons, namely slow updating with temperature and weather (which can be adjusted to a certain degree within the settings), and of course, if you have many menu bar applications already running, as it does not have a dedicated dock icon. The menu bar icon also looks out of place, but again, the images and even font can be edited within the settings. There may be a limit to how many locations can be added, as I’ve only tested two. Also, Meteo itself was last updated in December 2012, so it runs the risk of becoming outdated or abandoned.

Nevertheless, the pros vastly outweigh the cons for those who want a simple yet powerful weather application that does not take up too much space on the desktop.

Meteo is for Intel-based Macs only and can be found here.

Kicking It Into Gear

I need to get a schedule going for this blog. Posting once a month just won’t do. I think I’ll post once or twice a week with more free apps I find and get this a little more active than it has been! The next few reviews will be Macintosh-based, so stay tuned.

Seeing Green with Greenshot

Looking for a functional, yet lightweight solution to taking pictures of your desktop? Greenshot is a robust screen capture program that blows the others out of the water.

For those worried about space or CPU consumption, fret not. Installation is fast and simple, and the program itself takes up a mote of CPU power. After setting it up on your computer, you will find that it comes with many features including, but not limited to: highlighting, obfuscation, annotations, cropping, and other basic editing tools. Mapping hotkeys is a breeze so that the program behaves as you wish. For example, I have “capture selection” with PrntScrn (Print Screen), “capture window” with Space+PrntScrn, and “capture desktop” with Alt+PrntScrn.

Once a screenshot is taken, by default a secondary screen pops up that allows you to edit your shots without the use of another program, such as Paint or Photoshop. This can be turned off within the settings. Do note that these are basic tools; if you’re looking to make a masterpiece, it would be more expeditious to save the file and import it into another program.

There were a few cons I found with Greenshot, such as the time it took from pressing the PrntScrn button to seeing the green crosshairs appear on the screen. After going into the settings, the ~500 millisecond delay from key press to screenshot can be set to immediate (or if you choose, the time can be elongated). Editing the filename format within the settings can also be off-putting for less experienced users; however, the Greenshot devs include a small help guide within the program to use as a reference.

Overall, Greenshot is an excellent program for screen capture and simple editing, and boasts a slew of features that are not readily accessible with the Windows built-in snip tool. Go on, give it a shot!

Greenshot is open source software and can be downloaded here.

Kingsoft Office: Worth Ditching Microsoft?

For a free, light, and viable alternative to the Microsoft Office suite, Kingsoft Office may be what you’re looking for.

Downloading and installation are quick, and the suite in comparison to Microsoft’s official product line is much lighter on system resources. This is due in part to the fact Kingsoft only bundles three programs, whereas Microsoft’s suite offers a handful more—for a steeper price.

Upon starting either Kingsoft Writer, Spreadsheet, or Presentations, the interface is clean and suspiciously reminiscent of the ribbon layout that comes standard with Microsoft Office. For those who aren’t fans of multiple tabs, you also have the option to have all buttons revealed on the top toolbars, similar to Word 98.

Kingsoft Office is capable of saving in all supported file extensions—such as .doc, .ppt, .xls, and its own file extensions—with no trouble. When it comes to opening formatted files and documents from Microsoft into Kingsoft, cross compatibility is also not much of an issue.

Personally I did not encounter too many setbacks while testing this program but did experience a frozen screen once in a while; as with any alternative program, your mileage may vary, so check it out for yourself and see.

The Kingsoft Office suite is available on Windows and Linux operating systems along with Android and iOS mobile devices. The free version is, of course, free, however if you’d like to upgrade to their professional suite, it will cost you $69.95. You can download both the free and paid suite from their web page, found here.

Alternatives: LibreOfice (open source)

Teching Over is Live

Welcome to Teching Over! I created this blog as a means to chronicle my adventures through the software world. Since I have a bad habit of testing out all sorts of programs on Windows and Mac OS X, I figured why not write it all down?

Here’s a quick run-down of my hardware (and of myself, for that matter): I run Windows 7 on a Lenovo Y510, and Snow Leopard on a second-hand white MacBook. I myself am an early-twenty-something fresh out of university with a B.A. in English and a penchant for all things tech.

The first review will be for Kingsoft Office on Windows 7, so stay tuned!